AARP Invests $60 Million to Fund Dementia and Alzheimer's Research

More than 6 million people in the United States live with various types of dementia, and these numbers are constantly growing. To commemorate it's 60th anniversary AARP is investing $60 million on the Dementia Discovery Fund, a fund the invests in research development for dementia treatments. The number of people living or caring for someone with this disease are increasing. It is estimated that in 2016,  more than 18 billion hours of unpaid caregiving were provided to these people. 

To learn more about this investment, visit AARP. To get certified as a caregiver in your state visit caregiverlist.com 


App of the Week: Sea Hero Quest

This week's featured app of the week is Sea Hero Quest. This innovative app is a fun mobile game that also contributes to research on dementia. The app was designed by a British game company, Glitchers along with Alzheimer's Research UK and University College London. By playing the game you contribute to research on dementia and in only a few minutes you provide scientists data that would typically take hours to collect. Read more about the research here.

Caregivers who want training on Dementia and Alzheimer's can purchase our course for Alzheimer's Disease here. 

Caregivers Can Experience Life with Dementia Using New App

When it comes to understanding dementia and Alzheimer's disease, we can read about the various symptoms and glean together an understanding from people we know who dealt with them. However, it can still be difficult to piece together the thought patterns of someone with dementia as they navigate through their daily life. A new app called "A Walk Through Dementia" aims to bridge the gap between those living with dementia and those on the outside by giving a glimpse into the thoughts of a person with dementia. 

The app focuses on creating a virtual reality experience for the user. Alzheimer's Research UK created the app after interviewing several people with dementia to understand how their symptoms affect their daily lives. The app features three different environments for the user to navigate through: at the supermarket, on the road and at home. 


The app uses Google Cardboard virtual reality to immerse the user in the experience. For this reason, the app is available exclusively for Android, but the app creators put together a set of YouTube videos to help people without Androids experience the app as well. 

Watching the YouTube videos, we see first-person the narrator walking down the street and encountering a decision point of which way to walk home. As the narrator walks, we hear her inner thoughts change from recognizing her surroundings to deciding to take an alleyway as a short cut. Then, we hear her realize it's not the right way home and increasing panic as she does not recognize her surroundings and cannot find her son. 

As the walk continues, we realize further difficulties in perception as the narrator comes across a puddle, but her mind cannot correctly identify it. To her, it looks more like a gaping hole in the middle of the sidewalk, and only her son's confirmation helps her recognize that it's just a bit of water. We hear her attempt to cover put he fact that she thought it was something else, but from first person it lends us the recognition that she truly could not tell the difference. 

This sort of first-person recognition will help caregivers better understand how senior clients with dementia experience the world around them. By having this app or these videos to watch, we can clearly see how to a person with dementia, a shallow puddle of water can look like a hole in the ground because of the brain's distortion of reality. 

If your senior client has dementia or Alzheimer's Disease, talk to them about their experiences with the world. It can be difficult, but letting them know that you will listen and support them through these situations can only help them feel more comfortable about opening up about their dementia.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discovers additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko


RVT101 Debuts as First New Alzheimer’s Drug in More than a Decade

RVT 101 debuts as a new drug that to treat Alzheimer's disease and may be approved soon. This drug would create a giant step forward in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by allowing those taking the medication to push back the effects of the disease which causes the loss of memory and cognitive abilities. Alzheimer’s disease affects a person with memory loss and other abilities that interferes with their daily activities.


RVT 101 will be the first drug in more than 13 years to be successful. If approved, RVT 101 will become only the 5th drug currently available for treating Alzheimer’s disease. RVT 101 clinical trials are allowing patients to push back the effects of the disease. During the trials, scientists saw that RVT 101 helps slow down the effects Alzheimer’s has on a person by at least 6 months. The greatest results were from participants that had taken RVT 101 for more than a year.


Aricept is one of the available drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and scientists are using it along with RVT 101. While RVT 101 rises the levels of neurotransmitters that sends messages between nerve cells, Aricept helps decrease the enzymes that shuts down those neurotransmitter. By pairing up the two drugs, patients receive a second barrier against Alzheimer’s disease and are able to perform better on cognitive and basic functions.


Alzheimer’s disease is advancing faster than the success of medication. The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that by 2050 there will be 16 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s. Until there is a cure, Caregiverlist can help families find senior care for their loved ones. Caregiverlist provides the daily rates for nursing home’s nationwide. In states such as New Jersey, with high amounts of people with Alzheimer’s, families can find nursing homes such as Oradell Health Care Center with a price of $439. This resources can help families find a place that will give the love and care that their loved one needs to plan for Alzheimer's senior caregiving needs. Family caregivers may also obtain online memory care training to learn how to best care for their loved one or may join the Professional Association of Caregivers.

Author: Christina Gustin

National Memory Screening Week November 1st through 7th

Memory loss can be both a concern and fear for everyone. Especially for senior caregivers who have witnessed someone experience memory loss. I had the opportunity to meet former President Ronald Reagan after his memory loss had progressed (he thought he knew me, but for sure we had never met). It was a reminder to me that we are all the same when it comes to aging.

This week, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) has launched a National Memory Screening Program

National Screening Week is November 1 - 7 of this year.

The AFA is providing free, confidential memory screenings for people that have concerns about their memories. When necessary, individuals will be encouraged to have a follow-up exam by a qualified health care provider and may be directed to appropriate social services and community resources in their area.

The AFA is working toward eliminating the stigma and fears associated with dementia, and providing education for the public about memory problems and how to age successfully. The organization also hopes to alleviate fears for the people who do participate in the memory screening who are not currently showing any signs of memory problems.

Screening sites in your area can be located below.

National Memory Screening Locations 

Memory loss has many forms and Alzheimer's Disease is just one type of memory loss. Now that we know late actor Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body dementia, we can better understand how difficult the changes he was dealing with in his mind were during his last year of life.

Other types of memory loss include:

  • Vascular Dementia
  • Lewy Body 
  • Frontal Love Dementia (FLD)
  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Pick's Disease
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Subdural Hematomas
  • Brain Tumors

By identifying the type of memory loss, the senior can then be treated correctly. The progression for some types of memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease, can be slowed when treated with medications. Many clinical trials are in progress now, to study ways to better prevent Alzheimer's Disease. 

Meditation is proving to be an effective way to change the structure of the brain and Deepak Chopra and Rudi Tanzi, both medical doctors, are researching how meditation may be able to prevent or slow down memory loss. The doctors co-authored the book Super Brain where they discuss new ways of using our brains to help exercise it more and create new pathways, which, research is showing, just might be a way to prevent memory loss.






Pictures in App Help Seniors With Dementia Communicate

Caregivers working with senior clients who have dementia may find themselves in situations where talking leads to frustration. Something like mentioning a loved one that a client may have trouble remembering or a task like visiting the doctor can spike confusion for the client and become difficult for both of you to understand one another. The app appropriately called Communication Tool offers senior caregivers and their clients the ability to communicate using pictures about family members, foods & drink, personal care, etc. 

Images can be powerful as they serve as a sort of universal language. Seniors with dementia don't need to remember the exact words for what they need using the Communication Tool app. Instead they can simply pull up a photo of what they need. For example, under the personal care section of the app, there are icons of a toilet, a person sleeping in a bed, a pill, etc. If the senior client needs something specific, he/she can easily pull up the image on the app and share it with their caregiver without having to describe their needs verbally. 

 

Another use for the photos could be for enhanced story telling. If a loved one comes to visit, such as a grandchild, and wants to tell their grandparent about the new sport he/she's started playing, the Activities area of the app offers action shot icons of different sports. While a senior client may not immediately understand the description of soccer, a photo of a person kicking a ball might jog their memory or at least help them keep up with the story a little better.

Users also can take their own pictures and store them in the app for a customized experience. For example, under the people category, users can select Family and take photos of you, spouse, son, daughter, grandchild, etc. to have on hand. Additionally, there's an area for professionals such as doctors, dentists, eye doctors, etc. If a senior with dementia doesn't remember who someone is right away then a caregiver can store that person's photo in the app so next time they have a photo and label in advance.

The Communication Tool app is available for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Alzheimer's Caregiver Advice on Alzheimer's & Daily Companion App

For senior caregivers, working with clients who have dementia or Alzheimer's disease can be taxing and stressful. Seniors experiencing memory loss can become agitated, anxious or upset from situations that previously would have been part of their daily routine. When senior caregivers are experiencing issues working with their clients with dementia, they can turn to the Alzheimer's & Other Dementias Daily Companion app for advice and tips on dealing with specific situations. 

The main function of the app focuses on advice divided into 25 different categories, with many more subcategories. Caregivers can easily navigate through the topics ranging from Social Withdrawal to False Accusations and Paranoia to find advice relating to their specific situation. The descriptions under a topic include possible reasons for a senior client feeling that way and advice on how to remedy the situation or address the specific behavior and prevent it in the future. 

Another section of the app allows caregiver to seek emotional support from other caregivers by suggestions of support groups and ways to care for themselves. It suggests resources such as "10 Organizations Every Caregiver Should Know," and "8 Ways to Arrange Breaks form Caregiving." Managing caregiver stress plays an important part in overall caregiver health and well being. 

If caregivers don't see a category for the situation they'd like advice on, the app features an area where caregiver questions can be submitted to the app creator. Caregivers can also call a number for a 24-hour caregiver support line if they'd like to speak to someone immediately. If a caregiver worked through a particular issue himself/herself and would like to share advice, the app also features a spot for caregivers to share a story that will lend emotional support for other caregivers. 

The Alzheimer's & Other Dementias Daily Companion app is available for Apple and Android products.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Word Search + App Provides Themed Puzzles for Cognitive Exercise: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Senior caregivers and their clients may find that they tire of playing the same games over and over again to keep up cognitive activity. The Word Search + app provides a fun way for seniors to exercise their brains while completing themed puzzles.

Intellectual activity stimulates the brain and keeps it functioning in top shape. Just like physical activity is required to keep the body in shape, mental exercise is required for seniors to maintain a fit brain as they age. The Word Search + app provides 16 free categories of word searches with options to play on Easy, Medium or Hard levels. Categories range from Dog Breeds to Classical Composers to Ancient Civilizations and range from puzzles with six words to 12 words depending on the level of difficulty.

Words can be displayed horizontally, vertically or diagonally within the block of text. When a user finds a word from the bank below in the puzzle, they simply select it in the puzzle by sliding their finger along the letters of the word in the puzzle to highlight it. A timer also keeps track of how quickly a user completes the quiz, in case they would like to attempt to beat their own time in the future. 

In addition to simply finding the words, caregivers and their senior clients could learn from the words in the given categories. If seniors choose a specific category for the puzzle such as Artists, as they complete the search they will look for names of famous painters which could remind them of a favorite work or peak their curiosity about an artist that they've never heard of before. After finishing the puzzle, caregivers can help their senior clients look up any topics or people generated by the quiz that they would like to learn more about. 

 

The Word Search + app is available for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

App Focuses on Therapeutic Music for Seniors With Alzheimer's Disease: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Working with senior clients affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementia can be very trying for senior caregivers and the families of their senior clients. Coro Health developed an app based around music streaming as a source of calming therapy. The programs within the app are split into to distinct categories- supportive music and sundowning therapy. 

The supportive music category has subcategories called energy, relax and sleep. Once users select the mood category, they can choose a genre of music from classical, country, instrumental, pop, etc. The app features popular songs that senior clients or caregivers may know, such as Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles. The segments are organized into program lengths of about an hour, to prepare senior clients to energize for a day or give them time to wind down and relax or fall asleep. 

The sundowning therapy category can be useful to minimize behaviors such as mood swings, agitation and paranoia that stem from confusion felt by senior clients during the evening. This category features an hour long program and a program that lasts almost two and a half hours. Unlike the supportive category, no further genre choices exist because the programs are designed specifically to calm seniors experiencing sundown syndrome. 

The streaming service is available for a monthly fee of $4.99, but the first three hours of streaming through the app are free so caregivers and their senior clients can try the service before they subscribe. 

 

The Music First app is available for free for Apple platforms.

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

App Teaches Basic Spanish for Caregivers, Seniors for Cognitive Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Learning and using a foreign language engages the mind and switching from English to another language exercises the brain in a way that helps delay the onset of dementia. The "Learn Spanish" app by Mindsnacks teaches basic Spanish words and pronunciation for senior caregivers and their clients. 

As Spanish continues to become a more prominent language in the United States, some caregivers may have senior clients whose first language is Spanish. Those caregivers can use this app to learn the basics of the language if they don't already know it and practice their pronunciation with their senior clients. For seniors who don't speak a second language, this app provides stimulation to the part of the brain responsible for building up a "cognitive reserve," which prevents the onset of dementia. 

The app itself requires the user to create an account and asks for the user's experience level with speaking Spanish. Upon choosing the lowest level, it begins the game. The app displays a word in one language and then provides two choices for a matching word in the other language. For example, the Spanish word on top might be "Dos" and the two English words below it might be "Two" and "Three." The user must select "Two" to earn points as "Dos" is the Spanish word for "Two." 

The app makes this into a game, awarding points for each correct answer and ending the round when the user does not answer a question or chooses too many incorrect answers. After each round, it offers an evaluation of how well the user understands each of the words presented, with scores fluctuating and improving as the user plays more rounds. 

 

The basic version of the app is available for free for Apple products. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

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